Gym Bag Essentials: What to Pack for a Successful Workout

It’s time to eliminate the uncertainty of packing your gym bag. By including just the right items, you can be sure to have all the necessities for your workout without being burdened during your commute.

We get it; we’ve all considered taking extra juices, nail files, and outdated gear to the gym, but let’s be honest, are they really necessary? When preparing for the gym, simplicity is vital.

By mastering the art of packing the ideal gym bag, you can stride into your workouts with the assurance that you have everything you need before and after your session. Isn’t that calming? So, before you set off for the gym, ensure you have these ten workout must-haves in your gym bag.

1. Headphones 

A crucial component of any gym session is a reliable pair of headphones. Energising music and top-notch headphones can transform a decent workout into an exceptional one. So, remember to include your go-to team in your bag before leaving, whether you prefer compact earbuds or the more prominent, over-the-ear style headphones.

2. Workout wear 

Packing workout clothes in your gym bag is a no-brainer for any fitness enthusiast. Not only do these specialised garments keep you feeling fresh and hygienic, but they also offer the comfort and support needed during your sweat sessions. With moisture-wicking materials and stretchy fabrics, workout clothes allow unrestricted movement, helping you perform at your best. Plus, there’s something about slipping into that perfect gym outfit that gets you in the zone, boosting your motivation and confidence. And let’s not forget about gym etiquette—wearing proper workout attire shows respect for the facility and its rules. So, next time you hit the gym, ensure you have your favourite workout clothes packed and ready to go!

3. Gym shoes 

While it may be evident that gym shoes are essential, it’s crucial to consider the appropriate footwear for your specific exercise routine. Turning to a spin class with cumbersome running shoes is less than ideal.

Opting for versatile athletic shoes is a good choice for general gym use, but selecting footwear tailored to a particular activity can significantly enhance your performance. Budget-friendly options are designed for weightlifting, cross-training, indoor rock climbing, and indoor running.

By rotating different athletic shoes, you can ensure each pair dries thoroughly between workouts, which helps prevent undesirable foot odours.

4. Gym towel 

Many gyms mandate using a towel on the gym floor, and with good reason. Residual moisture could inconvenience the next person using the equipment even if you don’t visibly perspire.

Practising gym towel etiquette is not only hygienic but also courteous.

Cotton towels are often the top choice for the gym, as their highly absorbent fibres dry quickly. Alternatively, microfiber towels provide an even faster drying option.

While most gyms supply clean towels for members, saving space in your bag, some individuals prefer to bring their own.

To address concerns about sweat and germs from fellow gym-goers, consider carrying hand sanitiser. Additionally, gyms typically provide antibacterial sprays and towels for sanitising equipment before and after use.

By rotating different athletic shoes, you can ensure each pair dries thoroughly between workouts, which helps prevent undesirable foot odours.

5. Water bottle 

Waiting in line for the water fountain can be frustrating, particularly after an intense spin class or HIIT session. A reusable water bottle simplifies staying hydrated; some even keep drinks cool for up to 24 hours.

Water bottle prices can vary from below £10 to over £30. When opting for a reusable plastic bottle, ensure it’s made from non-toxic bisphenol A (BPA) free plastic. Newer vacuum-sealed water bottles should be free from condensation.

6. Membership card 

Many large-chain gyms have moved away from requiring membership cards for entry, opting for alternatives like apps, phone numbers, or fingerprint scans.

For gyms that still use cards or key fobs, ensure you have it easily accessible in your gym bag. Tag-shaped cards can be conveniently attached to a keychain or clipped to your bag, while regular-sized cards can be stowed in a gym pocket.

Keeping your card in your wallet might be more practical if you switch between bags for various activities like workouts, swimming, or yoga classes and need a card for each.

7. Toilatries 

If desired, store travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, shower gel in a waterproof pouch, bar soap, and face wash. Add a razor and shaving cream for days when a shave is needed.

Include an antiperspirant deodorant and antiperspirant wipes in your bag.

 To maintain a pleasant scent, create a natural body spray using essential oils or carry a small portion of your preferred perfume or cologne.

Apply baby powder to your skin to absorb excess moisture and provide a cooling effect. It can also be used in your hair to absorb sweat. Remember to use a toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash for oral hygiene.

For those who menstruate, it’s wise to have a supply of menstrual products, such as tampons, pads, or menstrual cups, readily available.

8. Skincare 

Utilise cleansing or baby wipes to cleanse your face and body. Apply body lotion and broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 for UV protection. Lip balm is a must-have item in dry or cold weather or if you have lips prone to dryness.

9. Snacks 

Bring nutritious snacks like nuts, protein bars, and dried fruit. Also, consider including packets of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), electrolytes, and protein powder for convenient, on-the-go drink options.

10. Accessories 

Do you carry your resistance bands or exercise gloves? How about a notebook tracking your workout progress or a personal yoga mat? Ensure these items are in your gym bag to tailor your workout experience. While remembering such accessories will help your overall workout, including them can help you achieve the best possible results.

Is it good to have a gym bag? 

A good gym bag offers numerous benefits that enhance your overall workout experience. It helps you stay organised by providing dedicated compartments and pockets for various items, making it convenient to transport and access all your gym essentials in one place. A durable, well-designed bag promotes hygiene by keeping dirty clothes, shoes, and wet items separate from clean belongings. Having a well-prepared gym bag can serve as a motivation for consistent workouts, while its comfortable carrying options and stylish design can boost your confidence and enthusiasm. Investing in a high-quality gym bag contributes to a seamless and enjoyable workout routine, benefiting your fitness journey.

What brands make the best gym bags? 

Many brands are known for producing high-quality gym bags, each offering different styles, features, and price points. Some of the top gym bag brands include:

Nike: Known for its athletic apparel and accessories, Nike offers a variety of gym bags in different sizes and styles, with many featuring durable materials and functional designs.

Under Armour: This brand provides gym bags with features tailored to athletes and gym-goers, such as ventilated compartments, water-resistant finishes, and comfortable carrying options.

Adidas: Adidas is a popular choice for stylish and functional gym bags, offering options with multiple compartments, shoe storage, and durable materials.

Puma: Puma’s gym bags come in various sizes and designs, catering to different tastes and requirements while providing durability and functionality.

Lululemon: Known for its high-quality activewear, Lululemon also offers a range of stylish and versatile gym bags designed for both workout enthusiasts and casual users.

The North Face: This outdoor-focused brand offers gym bags with rugged construction, suitable for those who need durability and functionality for various activities.

Dagne Dover: Dagne Dover’s gym bags are known for their sleek designs and well-organised compartments, making them a popular choice for style and functionality.

Herschel Supply Co.: Herschel offers a variety of gym bags with a focus on style and practicality, featuring designs that can transition from the gym to daily use seamlessly.

While these brands are known for producing high-quality gym bags, it’s essential to consider your specific needs, preferences, and budget when selecting the best gym bag.


Mastering the art of packing an efficient gym bag can significantly enhance your workout experience. With the right items, you can confidently tackle your fitness routine without any unnecessary baggage, literally and figuratively. By simplifying your gym bag essentials and focusing on the top 10 must-haves, you can streamline your pre-and post-workout routines, making your fitness journey smoother and more enjoyable. Investing in a high-quality gym bag and ensuring it contains everything you need for your workout is practical and adds a sense of motivation and consistency.